The Verizon IndyCar Series announced on Wednesday that former driver and team owner Sarah Fisher will be the official pace car driver for the 2016 season starting with this weekend’s season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
Fisher who competed in 81 Verizon IndyCar Series events will share driving duties with current pace car driver and three time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford.
Rutherford has driven the official Pace Car in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 1996 however has scaled back his involvement in recent seasons and as a result with drive the car at two events in 2016 starting with the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway which takes place on April 2.
Rutherford will also drive the pace car during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
Fisher will be behind the wheel for the remaining races of the season. Speaking about her new role, Fisher commented by saying:
Having worked with J.R. when I was a rookie (driver), and to follow in his footprints now is just an incredible honor, I’ve lived for the sport of Indy car racing and when Jay (Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations) offered me the position to pace the field, I didn’t think twice about my commitment again to the sport that I love.
The Verizon IndyCar Series President of competition and operations, Jay Frye commented on Fisher’s appointment by saying:
We couldn’t be more excited to have Sarah Fisher serve as a pace car driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series this year, Sarah’s been an integral part of INDYCAR as both a driver and a team owner and having her in this role is a tremendous asset to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Frye went on to talk about Johnny Rutherford saying:
Johnny Rutherford is one of our sport’s greatest competitors and a loyal ambassador for INDYCAR, It is certainly appropriate that a legend of his stature will be pacing the field during the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.